Cubs 6, Nationals 2: Back to Baseball With the Crack of a Bat

Damen JacksonCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 27:  Cristian Guzman #15 of the Washington Nationals forces out Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs to start a double play April 27, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Filed:July 17th, 2009

Chicago Cubs Derrek Lee (Cubbie Nation/file)

The Washington Nationals can't pitch, can't field, and can't execute.

They delivered prime examples of all Thursday, and the Cubs took advantage to grab a 6-2 win in D.C.

Given the current disarray of that club, I'm looking forward to three more games just like it this weekend.

Let me put that aside for a moment, and talk about the Cubs other major news Thursday, the signing of ex-Blue Jay B.J. Ryan to a minor-league deal. 

I've been thinking about this since Dave van Dyck first reported the potential signing last week. As someone who's followed the Blue Jays for awhile, I've had a chance to see Ryan at both his best and worst for some time now.

Not to mention, I have been awed by the ridiculousness of his old deal, a $48 million dollar boondoggle that still makes my jaw drop.

I love. I hate it. I love it. I hate it. I've gone back and forth for a week now, and still can't decide, so I'm giving Jim Hendry a pass, and hoping for the best.

Ryan will reportedly do some work on his mechanics in Mesa, then report to the Cubs AAA franchise when his work with pitching coordinator Mark Riggins is complete.

See, here's my problem—B.J. Ryan can flat out throw, and when on, he's a solid reliever. While he may have his closer days behind him, he could certainly terrify the NL as a late-inning setup man for at least another year or two.

So, the idea of making a minimal investment, getting him into the system, and hopefully having him ready for 2010 if all goes well is just good business.

The thing is though: It's awfully late in the season to be shopping at the local Costco, so to speak.

The best case is that Ryan spends a couple of weeks in Arizona, a few weeks in the minors, and the Cubs have him ready by late August, or likely as part of the September call-ups.

The worst is that the Cubs fail to make another move, anticipating relief help coming from here. And Ryan right now is, to be frank, a hot mess, who I suspect is still nursing an injury, given both his recent wildness and drop in velocity.

In the meantime, they still need a healthy, productive second lefty who can contribute now. Go get one before the deadline, and there's no need for Ryan. Don't, and wait for Ryan, and do the bullpen and team a disservice.

If this signing alters the willingness of the club to pursue bullpen help at the deadline, then I say shame. Shame on you.

I love the player, and the idea of having him on the club, so if there's at least verbal language assuring the Cubs that they can have a healthy Ryan around in 2010, I say great.

But what the team really needs is a guy they can throw out there tomorrow, not some time in September.

Or should Marshall just start shopping for his own outfielder's glove?


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